The long road to California

Back in November my husband and I drove from North East Kansas all the way to central California. It took us 25 hours straight. A very long 25 hours.

There was a lot of excitement and anxiousness attached to our trip MAINLY because only about three people knew we were on our way to California. Our intentions were to just show up on Thanksgiving to our family’s dinners and take them by surprise.

We started driving sometime after midnight and made it all the way to Denver, Colorado, just as the sun was starting to come up. The one and only time we hit snow was in Wyoming. It was all over the mountains in Utah though.


Luckily, there was no snow on the freeways!


The Salt Lake flats ♥

We took turns driving and for the most part, it was a pretty easy trip. We got to Nevada right after the sun had set. We got to Reno, Nevada, when I learned a very humorous (now, but not at the time) lesson. I wanted to pick out healthy snacks for us on our drive, so when I ate almost an entire bag of dried fruit to myself, I gave myself a pat on the back. Turns out though, dried fruit have a WHOLE LOT of fiber in them. Snack wisely, my friends! Especially if you have at least another four hours of your road trip left.


BUT we made it!

We “hid out” at my very gracious friend, Heather’s house for a few days. When Thanksgiving morning rolled around, we drove up the hill to Steven’s grandparents house. There’s a gate at their property and Steven’s mom heard it, came running at us full force in excitement. When we headed to my Aunt Linda’s house for my family’s dinner, we made it before my parents did. We stayed in a back room while they came in for a few minutes but jumped into the crowd of my cousins who were greeting them. My mom looked right at me but it took a few moments to register who I was, and my dad did the same thing to Steven. If you’re reading this Brittany, you were the first one to figure out our surprise! ♥

I think being home for Thanksgiving made us holiday confused. It was like Christmas had already happened for us.

I tagged along with my cousin Brittany to Sacramento State University, where I graduated from, and she’s currently attending. I went to all my favorite spots on campus, even got to sit in on one of Brittany’s classes, and had a wonderful visit with one of my very favorite professors, Professor Gieger. Turns out he had been visiting Manhattan, Kansas, just the last summer!

Sacramento was GORGEOUS (like always). Fall is my absolute favorite season because it’s in the 60s (but ask any Californian and that is their “Freezing”) and everything is so colorful!


We played tourist in our own hometown.


& No trip home is complete without a trip to the city.


the most fun tourist traps, collection of souvenirs, and delicious food!


We will return for our hearts some day.

Our trip home was the fastest two weeks of my life. We did not get to see everyone we hoped to see and we did not get to do everything we wanted to, but we did eat a lot of good food! My scale will tell you I ate at least 7 pounds worth (oops! BUT totally worth it). I did not take nearly enough photos, either. I was definitely too busy enjoying everything to pull out my camera, but I’m kind of disappointed that I did not snap more photos of the faces I miss so very much!

We learned our lesson with taking a 25 hour drive and knew we wanted to do something different for the drive back to Kansas. We also wanted to avoid all the bad weather, so we took the Southern route, which is a bit longer. We drove straight through to Albuquerque, and couldn’t help but be complete Breaking Bad fans.


Walter White had decorated for Christmas!


Tuco’s hideout is actually Java Joes, and they make delicious coffee!


& We stopped at The Candy Lady, the store that provided all the prop meth for Breaking Bad.


The Southern route just isn’t as pretty as the Northern.

Hopefully our next trip home will not be so far off as this last one had been. We had been away for 20 months, and that was just too long!

Until next time! ♥

Meet My Family ♥ Paternal Grandparents

After reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs my love of photography and all things related has grown even more. I am a lover of photographs, and especially of those that had captured people whom I love.

So I started this “series” of old family photographs (Introduction post here). It’s funny, I thought this would be easy to do because it’s just photos and me telling a little bit of the story behind them. Going through the large amount of photos I have, I find myself in tears. These are not just photos I love, but also people I love, and memories I love. Some, and sadly most of the people in this particular set, are of people who are no longer here.

Today, I’m sharing a few photos of my paternal grandparents, my Grandmother and my Grandfather from my Dad’s side. My grandma died when I was only a month old and my grandpa passed away when I was three. As much as I try and want to remember, I have no memory of them. Looking through photos of them, I see the family resemblances that cannot be denied. Something about them, the camera did not just capture their smiles, but it captured their personalities too.

My grandparents met at a city dance in Oklahoma in the 1930s. When they got married, my grandfather was 20 and my grandmother was 17. Their first child, my aunt, was born when my grandma was only 18.

Since there were no jobs, my grandpa moved to the Los Angeles area and worked until he could send money to my grandma. She drove out to California to join him. They soon had another baby girl.

They moved up north and my grandpa built their new home. They had three more children, three boys, my uncles and my dad was the youngest (pictured in the front).

I have a weakness for photobooth photos. The photos they took are some of the cutest I’ve ever seen.

My grandfather was nicknamed Popeye after his extremely large forearms. He even had the anchor tattoo to match.

I only know that it’s my grandma and grandpa in this photo, and nothing else. I’ve always been drawn to it, though. The fact that it’s blurry makes me curious. I wonder if the person taking the photo tried to snap it quickly, but my grandpa caught them with the camera. OR maybe my grandpa is saying “Hey! Look out!”


Taken at my aunt and uncle’s wedding in 1963.


Cutest couple in a photobooth EVER award goes to…


Think what you will, but I think my grandma was FLAWLESS.

My grandpa lost the tips to two of his fingers when they were ran over by a train (I have not heard the whole story behind this yet).


Taken on a trip to Oklahoma in 1967

I almost missed the person napping on the swing behind my grandpa. I think that is my great-grandma, his mother-in-law.

The whole family! My dad, once the smallest, towered over everyone there in the back. This one was taken on October 20th 1974.


Drinking wine together on their anniversary, early 1980s

I cannot begin to explain how difficult it was to narrow this post down to fifteen images! When I look at these photographs I see where I got my sassy sense of humor, that’s for sure. My heart breaks that I never got to know them, but I am so glad that I have so many photos to remember them by.